A Cold Snow in Castaway County Chapter 1

It was growing dusky as Dell drove his Chevy Trail Blazer toward Eagle Ridge on Route 17. It was the second week of October 2007, and the weather in Maine was unusually brisk this year requiring most local folks to wear at least two layers if not more just to be comfortable. The lakes had not frozen over yet but most of the geese seemed to have left the area for a warmer climate, maybe Georgia or even Florida as many of the "summer folk" did each year to avoid the harsh Maine winter. Dell kept asking himself how he had allowed his friend to talk him into this speaking engagement tonight in the first place. He never considered himself a good public speaker, but he was sure that he couldn't win the race without getting out and talking to people. But did it have to be a large group? Well, he would try his best and hope no one asked any really personal questions.

As he pulled in front of the town hall building, he noticed that there was little space left in the adjacent parking lot. This made his apprehension rise and he expected that the butterflies he was feeling in his stomach might just be big enough to carry his whole body away. As he entered the hall he saw his friend Dexter waiting for him with a few three by five cards in his hand.

"Ok, Dex, don't tell me you've already prepared a speech for me."

"Well, I thought you might need some help since you have always seemed to be a man of few words."

"Thanks, Dex, but I think I'm just going to go out there and give them the truth; just me as I am take it or leave it."

With that, Dell walked casually out to the small podium at the center of the floor and began to speak to the hundred or so citizens who were awaiting his 'thoughtfully prepared' speech. Dell was a handsome man, about forty-five, just over 6'2, weighing around 230, with graying temples and a slightly graying mustache. Although he was wearing blue jeans, he had a sport shirt on and a tan blazer so he looked quite dignified as he began speaking.

"Hello ladies and gentlemen of Castaway County. My name is Wendell Hinton, but all my friends call me Dell and I hope each of you will. I came to live in your beautiful county a little over a year ago and my good friend Dex, excuse me I mean Father Delaney, kept telling me he thought I should run for Sheriff. I always told him that I had far too much work to do on my cabin on Spoodicook Lake, but he kept after me almost as hard as if he wanted to convert me!"